Back in January, I detailed how to get free COVID tests in the United States. The U.S. government has organized 3 different ways to get subsidized COVID testing to all Americans. The most popular of the 3 methods for many has been to simply order the tests from the federal government through the USPS, but the number of free tests was limited to 4 per residential address. Starting this week, U.S. households can now order a 2nd round of free rapid antigen COVID tests per residential address through the USPS.
The site that covers the 3 different free test options, covidtests.gov, now states,
Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 2 sets of 4 free at-home tests. If you already ordered your first set, order a second today.
Update: U.S. households can now place a 3rd order for free COVID tests (8 additional kits)
How to Place a 2nd Order of Free COVID Tests through the USPS
The USPS also changed their messaging to allow for 2nd orders (of 4 additional tests, 8 total) from the prior limit of one 4-test order per household,
Residential households in the U.S. are eligible for 2 orders of 4 free at-home tests on USPS.com. Here’s what you need to know about your order:
Here’s what you need to know about your order:
- Limit of 2 orders per residential address
- Each order includes 4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests
- Orders will ship free as tests are received from manufacturers
In order to place your 2nd order of COVID tests through the USPS, you can do so at special.usps.com/testkit where you only need to submit your name and address (email address is optional for shipping confirmation and status updates) in order to place the order.
Here are the full details on the tests (what you’ll get) and the logistics:
- Test Type: rapid antigen, at-home self tests (no drop-off needed)
- Length of Time for Test Results: 30 minutes
- Insurance Status: insured or uninsured individuals (anyone)
- Cost: $0 (no cost)
- Quantity: limit of 8 tests “per residential address” (4 tests sent per each order)
- When: 1st and 2nd orders have already started.
- How Long to Receive: Estimated processing/shipping time is roughly 7-12 days for the first order. I believe that I received my first round of tests at about the 10 day mark. The messaging now states “Orders will ship free as tests are received from manufacturers”, implying that there may be a delay if the tests are not in stock.
Should You Place a 2nd Order of Free COVID Tests?
While you can place your 2nd free COVID test order, that doesn’t mean that you necessarily should. If you live in a larger household (e.g. 4+ members) or you have already used your original allotment of free COVID tests, it likely makes sense to order your 2nd round. However, if you live in a smaller household and are still sitting on a few tests from your first order, you may want to hold off on ordering a 2nd round until you deplete your original round.
I personally haven’t used the 4 original tests that I had received, so I won’t be placing an order at the moment and probably will not until our household uses at least 2 of the 4 test kits. Use your own discretion, but note that if households with a stash of tests all put in 2nd orders it could slow down processing times for households where there is a more urgent need, with the “Orders will ship free as tests are received from manufacturers” messaging.